Is it really abuse? 

Both victim and helper alike often ask themselves if what they are experiencing or hearing about is really abuse.  Isn't abuse a harsh word? The problem becomes that we are so fearful of over-labeling abuse that we fail to call  out evil when it is happening especially when the abuser is proficient in quoting scripture and putting on a good Christian show.  Week after week in our support groups we have women who wonder if they really belong there.  Not only that, but pastors and biblical counselors are hesitant to offer full support to a victim because they aren't sure who or what to believe. It’s easier to believe it’s a marital problem rather than oppression. However, there are some rather clear patterns when it comes to domestic abuse.  At Called to Peace Ministries we seek to provide education and support to those in abusive situations, and to equip those who desire to help them.    

Domestic violence (DV) (also called intimate partner violence (IPV), domestic abuse or relationship abuse) is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. These behaviors can include physical harm, but more often they do not. The Power and Control Wheel is a helpful tool that has been used by advocates for over 3 decades. It is based on interaction and research with hundreds of victims of DV. In the course of collecting data, several common patterns emerged. At Called to Peace Ministries, we find the Wheel is a very helpful diagnostic tool, and we haven't seen a situation yet that wasn't characterized by these behaviors. 

In scripture, we find that these abusive traits are the exact opposite of God's definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13. We often ask those suffering in destructive relationships to read this passage, because it can also be a great way to help them determine whether or not their relationships are abusive. 


Warning Signs

​One of the most common things we hear from women who are in abusive relationships is that they often feel very confused about their relationships. Very often they do not see their partners as abusive, and may even take responsibility for the problems. Below are some questions to help you determine whether or not your relationship is abusive. Does your partner? 

  • Act extremely jealous? 

  • Intimidate you with looks, gestures cursing, or a loud voice?

  • Check up on you excessively?

  • Often seem angry at someone or something?

  • Threaten to hurt or punish you if you don't do what he wants?

  • Pressure you for sex in ways that make you uncomfortable? 

  • Try to isolate you by controlling where you go, who you see & what you do?

  • Make all the decisions about money? 

  • Make you feel crazy?

  • Lie to you regularly?

  • Disregard your feelings?

  • Ignore you or give you the silent treatment?

  • Embarrass or humiliate you in front of others?

  • Deprive you of sleep?

  • Threaten to leave you, hurt you, or to commit suicide?

  • Minimize or deny his abusive behavior?

  • Often criticize you, your friends or your family?

  • Blame you for how he treats you, or for anything bad that happens? 

  • Degrade you, make you feel insignificant, powerless and/or worthless?

  • Tell you how to dress or act?

  • Use the children to control you? Try to turn the children against you?

  • Destroy your property, possessions or documents?

  • Prevent you from leaving an area or restrain you?

  • Use weapons to scare you?

  • Push, grab or shove you? 

  • Slap, pinch, push or kick you? Choke you? 

  • Make you feel like you're walking on eggshells?

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